Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Japan Culinary Adventure (36): Kurashow in Otaki - 2

Kurashow Dish #1 (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Kurashow Dish #2 (Otaki) - Japan  2017

We weren't in any hurry, which was nice. After an initial delay, dishes kept coming out on a regular basis . . . everything pristine, picture-perfect and delicious. And a bonus: the restaurant's owners turned out to be a married couple that had worked previously in New York! So we were able to get English translations of what was being served.

Alas, Mike didn't get a photo of them (or what's worse, didn't get their names), so he had to turn to the restaurant's Facebook page for the following shot:

Kurashow Waitress and Chef

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Japan Culinary Adventure (36): Kurashow in Otaki - 1

Kurashow Exterior (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Kurashow Alcove (Otaki) - Japan  2017

So . . . we had been looking for Kurashow, which we had seen mentioned in an NHK travel article.

Quote: "The restaurant serves no animal products and is focused on using vegetables produced locally without chemicals or fertilizers."

We weren't having any luck, so we determined to get lunch at the next spot we came across. Of course, it was Kurashow, located in an unprepossessing structure that we spotted across the street.

A very small place - no tables, just seats around a central counter. We were lucky to be able to walk in and get seated right away.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Cat Blogging

Cat (Otaki) - Japan  2017

As seen in Otaki while Hali and Mike wandered up and down the main street, searching for the elusive "Kurashow," a restaurant that they had read about on an NHK website.

So at this point they had found "Kuraya" but not "Kurashow." They resolved to keep on searching.

Google Street View has the Kuraya parking lot, without the cat.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Otaki Sightems - 2

Statue, Parking Lot (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Street (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Otaki is one of the few places we've been to that doesn't have a Japan Railways station. (Others: YudanakaMagome . . . probably more.)

Photos were taken with an Olympus E-M10 camera with an Olympus 14-150mm zoom lens.

Mike (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Otaki Sightems - 1

Building (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Shacks (Otaki) - Japan  2017

So maybe those structures aren't shacks. Maybe they're storage units. Don't know. Also, two persimmons hovering in the background.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Otaki Station

Train Station Exterior (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Train Station Interior (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Served by the one-car Isumi trains. So this is where we got off, spending some time wandering around Otaki.

Train Tracks (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Persimmons (Otaki) - Japan  2017

Persimmons (Yokohama) - Japan  2017

Ubiquitous throughout Japan. Mike once saw someone harvesting persimmons in Hotaka.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Isumi Railway

Isumi Railcar - Japan  2017

Isumi Railcar Interior - Japan  2017

Finally . . . the famous Isumi Railroad! We purchased an all-day ticket, which we didn't really need because we ended up only going to one town. Actually, did anyone ever check our tickets? Maybe once.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Traveling to Ohara

Welcome to Isumi (Ohara) - Japan  2017

Fujiya (Ohara) - Japan  2017

Pronounced "Oh-hah-rah."

Mike and Hali had wanted to take this trip for some time in order to experience the Isumi Railway: a small one-car train operation travelling into rural Japan.

The rail line starts in Chiba Prefecture in the town of Ohara. Not that easy to get to! Main issue was finding our way through the labyrinth of Shinjuku Station during the morning commute hours trying to get to the Wakashio Express. Which we finally did.

Alas, we didn't get any time at all to spend in Ohara, other than to peek out of the small train station there.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Chipmunk Blogging

Chipmunk - Sierra Nevada  2017

On a foxtail pine, a few feet away from the rock where Mike was having his lunch. Only a few feet away, but separated by a very deep drop-off.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Mountain - Sierra Nevada  2017

Clouds (Mammoth Lakes) - Sierra Nevada  2017

Mike got to spend one night in Mammoth at a - heated - motel room! Wow! Of course, it wasn't until he was walking around town that some picturesque clouds finally made their first appearance of the trip.

He was interested to see a phalanx of leaf-blowing workers blowing sand and rocks around at the resort.

Leaf Blowers (Mammoth Lakes) - Sierra Nevada  2017

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sierra Sightems

Sage (Afternoon) - Sierra Nevada  2017

Aspens (AM) - Sierra Nevada  2017

The top photo was taken just before the sun dipped below the mountains to the west, after which event the temperature rapidly plummeted into the 40s. Yikes! OK if you're in a cabin or a camper, but not so great with just a tent.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bristlecone Pines - 2

Bristlecone Pine - Inyo County  2017

Sierra Crest - Inyo County  2017

Weathered bristlecone pine growing in a talus slope.

Sierra crest from the visitor center.

Photos taken with an Olympus E-PL7 and a Panasonic 12-60mm lens.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bristlecone Pines - 1

Bristlecone Pine Branches - Inyo County  2017

Bristlecone Pine Trunk - Inyo County  2017

High up in the White Mountains. Mike likes to pay a visit whenever he's in the vicinity. Maybe some day he'll set up camp there so he can get some sunrise photos.

Some day.

Bristlecone Sign - Inyo County  2017

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Death Valley Road

Desert Road - Inyo County  2017

Desert Road, Self Portrait - Inyo County  2017

An easy drive from Bishop, down highway 395 to Big Pine, then east towards the desert. Continuing on will take one to Death Valley, although Mike only went that far once.

Top photo taken with an Olympus E-PL7 with a Panasonic 12-60mm lens. Bottom photo taken with an iPhone 7 Plus.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Cat Blogging / 10th Anniversary

Cat (Yokohama) - Japan  2017

Evening cat.

BTW, tenth anniversary of the mikereport. The first mikereport blog post: 50 Years. (January 15, 2008.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Shinjuku Sightems

Corner, Red Light District (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Toy's Catcher (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Two iPhone panoramas. Red light district was not that exciting in the early morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Shinjuku Walking Tour - 3

Kushiyaki Exterior (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Skewers (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Kushiyaki also gets good reviews
, although it didn't rise to the level of our okonomiyaki. Still, very good. (Skewers.)

Much walking back and forth, until we finally arrived at the police box where we had started. And so to bed.

Orange Cones (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Friday, January 12, 2018

Shinjuku Walking Tour - 2 / Japan Culinary Adventure (35): Okonomiyaki at Buchiumaya

Buchiumaya Exterior (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Buchiumaya Chef (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

We had had okonomiyaki before, but this was Hiroshima-style! Prepared right in front of us!

People like it! When we left, a line had formed outside the front door.

Okonomiyaki Preparation (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shinjuku Walking Tour - 1

Cemetery, High Rises (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Street Corner, Pink Light (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

We had decided that, although we had visited Shinjuku before, we should take a walking tour for a local take on the area. We met Yuma at the police box in front of the train station and went on a pretty extensive hike. It ended up covering quite a lot of territory!

These photos were taken with a Canon G5X.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Godzilla Road (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Hali and Mike stayed at the Hotel Gracery in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo, a throughly modern, well-appointed hotel.

But! In a nod to Japan's cinema history, a realistic Godzilla (Gojira) model has been constructed on the grounds, with various Godzilla memorabilia in evidence. Every hour Godzilla puts on a show, breathing smoke and roaring quite loudly.


Godzilla, Mike (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Godzilla is the one at the top of the photo.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Skyline (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Skyline (Tokyo) - Japan  2017

Hali and Mike scheduled a few days in Tokyo last November for some sight-seeing. Here's the view from their Shinjuku hotel.

Other Tokyo views on the blog:

Tokyo Night, 2014

Tokyo, 2014

Tokyo, 2008

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday Trout Blogging

Lamarck Lake - Sierra Nevada  2017

Trout Ripples - Sierra Nevada  2017

So: lower Lamarck Lake. Very nice.

And - trout ripples! And trout, kinda small.

Trout - Sierra Nevada  2017